This Year the 68th 2019 NBA-All-Star Game will be taking place at the Spectrum Center, Charlotte, North Carolina, home of the Charlotte Hornets on TNT Sunday February 17, 2019.
In an effort to make this Year All-Star Game even more exciting and competitive, the NBA changed the format from the traditional Eastern Conference vs Western Conference to an All-Star Draft-Style format that was viewed live for the first time. As usual the starters were chosen by the fans and the media and players also had a say to the votes. Captains were able to draft from the pool of players voted as Starters and Reserves.
Representing the Eastern Conference Starters this year are
-Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) Team Captain
-Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
-Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers)
-Paul George (Oklahoma City Thunder)
-Kemba Walker (Charlotte Hornets)
-Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks)
-Nokola Jokic (Denver Nuggets)
-Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers) (Traded to Team LeBron for Russell Westbrook)
-Blake Griffin (Detroit Pistons)
-D’Angelo Russell (Brooklyn Nets)
-Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic)
-Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors)
-Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) (drafted in the third and final round per Adam Silver as special team roster additions for the All-Star Game)
Coach Mike Budenhozer (Milwaukee Bucks)
Representing the Western Conference Starters this year are
-LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) Team Captain
-Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors)
-Kyrie Irving (Toronto Raptors)
-Kawhi Leonard (Boston Celtics)
-James Harden (Houston Rockets)
-Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
-Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
-Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
-Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) (Traded to Team Giannis for Ben Simmons)
-LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
-Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves)
-Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
-Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat) (drafted in the third and final round per Adam Silver as special team roster additions for the All-Star Game)
Coach Michael Malone (Denver Nuggets)
Once again, “King Of The Court” is up for grabs come Sunday night February 17, 2019. Which side will claim all bragging rights for this year All-Star Game?
WBO Light Heavyweight Challenge
Last night, at the Ford Center at the Star, in Frisco, Texas, Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 Kos) successfully avenged his previous loss to Eleider Alvarez (24-1, 12 Kos) by defeating him by unanimous decision.
With new trainer Buddy McGirt in his corner, Kovalev was a completely different fighter then the one who fought 6 months ago and lost his title to Alvarez. Real Talk!
This version of Kovalev who stepped into that squared circle last night was laser focussed with controlled aggression and a very effective jab that was on point throughout the entire bout. Kovalev stuck to the “game plan” at hand and never wavered. He showed patience with no signs of stamina issues well into the second half of the bout.
I was impressed and surprised by his discipline in this bout. Sergey controlled the fight from start to finish while being mindful of Alverez’s effort of trying to land something significant all night.
Alvarez’s approach in this bout was confusing to say the least. Alvarez was hoping to catch Sergey slipping in the second half but to his surprise Kovalev actually stepped it up and finished stronger than expected. Alvarez had no real answers for Kovalev’s strategic approach. Alvarez’s low punch output was definitely the most unexpected to me. Alverez’s overconfidence this time around cost him to succumb to his first professional defeat and his WBO Light Heavyweight Title.
With this win Kovalev now becomes three-time WBO Light Heavyweight Champion of the World and is now anxiously looking for a unification bout with either Titleholder in the 175-pound Division.
I’m curious to see which of the Champions is going accept the challenge.
Until then, congratulations on regaining your Championship Belt, Kovalev. Job well done.
WBA “Super” Welterweight Challenge
Fresh off his 22-month layoff, Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0, 22 Kos) successfully defended his WBA “Super” Welterweight Title against tough and rugged Josesito Lopez (36-8, 19 Kos) last night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Mr. “One Time” was surprisingly in a tough bout that took him all the way to the 12th round. Keith established himself early when he knocked down Josesito for an 8 count in the second round but was still unable to finish him off.
Lopez came to fight and didn’t let the second round deter him from the “game plan” at hand. He kept on coming forward and stalking the champ as much as he could and landed some heavy shots whenever he managed to connect.
Keith kept his jab, movement and his work rate on point. There were no real signs of ring rust but his stamina did look suspect at times. There was a significant scare in the 7th round when Lopez connected with a flurry of shots that had the champ hurt and retreating for the rest of the round.
This bout was closer then it looked and Josesito gave it a good run but Keith managed to compose himself and fought through the rough patches while still maintaining his early lead.
That being said, Keith outscored the game Josesito (113-113, 115-111 and 117-109) to retain his WBA “Super” Welterweight Belt by majority Decision.
It may not have been Thurman’s best performance to date but with a 22-Month layoff to speak of we’re happy to see him back in that squared circle with a win.
Now on to the next Champ.
WBC Light Heavyweight Eliminator and WBA Interim Light Heavyweight Title
In the co-feature, last night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, Marcus Browne (23-0, 16 Kos) asserted himself early in his bout against Badou Jack (22-2-3, 13 Kos) and never looked back. Real Talk!
Browne executed the “game plan” at hand perfectly to a “T” and boxed beautifully inside that squared circle. Browne showed to be ready and on point and didn’t miss a beat as the rounds wore on. Badou had no answers to Browne’s slick movements and it cost him early big time.
Clearly behind by the seventh round, Badou suffered a nasty gash in the middle of his forehead on an accidental head clash that had him looking like a warrior from Vikings – blood everywhere. Real Talk! This unexpected accident didn’t help Badou at all but it did make it harder for him to see his opponent.
That being said Browne stuck to the task at hand and continued to batter his wounded warrior all the way to the 12th round. I tip my “B” hat to Badou for withstanding the onslaught while being blinded by his own blood. Dude is a serious warrior hands down.
With this impressive and convincing win over an established highly ranked adversary, Browne has truly showed that he belongs among the top Light Heavyweight in the Division.
Browne now has options in front of him after winning the WBC Light Heavyweight Eliminator and picking up the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight Title.
Congratulations Marcus on your latest accomplishments. Your future is looking brighter by the day, keep it up.
WBO Middleweight Challenge
Last night, on DAZN at the Hulu Theater in Madison Square Garden, Demetrius Andrade (27-0, 17 Kos) successfully defended his WBO Middleweight Title against fringe contender Artur Akavov (19-3, 8 Kos).
This bout was a glorified sparring session in my eyes. There are levels to this boxing sh*t and as good as a boxer Akavov was on that night he was levels below Andrade. Real Talk! Andrade controlled every round from start to finish. Andrade was sharp and busy with his hands but Artur was in plain survivor mode and only showed signs of life sporadically. He actually connected with some good shots in the ninth round but other than that Akavov wasn’t competitive enough.
Demetrius was on way to a unanimous decision by the 12th round until the referee had seen enough and stopped the fight with less than 30 seconds left in the round after Akavov got hit with three heavy shots in a row that made him stumble back.
That being said, I personally think that the stoppage was unjustified. Artur had no chance of winning this bout but definitely deserved the right go out on his shield like a warrior should.
With this win Demetrius secured his fist defence of his WBO Middleweight Title and banked in some much-needed rounds.
Controversy aside, Demetrius is still a major player in the Middleweight Division; however, it’s time to step up to some better competition. Who’s next?
WBO Welterweight Challenge
It has officially been confirmed today that Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 Kos) will be defending his WBO Welterweight Title against Amir Khan (33-4, 20 Kos) Saturday night April 20, 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York City or at one of the MGM Resorts’ International arenas in Las Vegas.
This is an intriguing bout with the possibility of being a great one depending on which Amir Khan shows up that night. If the explosive, fast handed slick fighter makes an appearance, we might just have a good match up. However, if Khan shows up with that weak performance like his last time out then your “Boy” might be in for a quick night? Real Talk!
Khan has been searching for that legacy fight and now his call has been answered. Crawford is rated as one of the top Pound-for-Pound boxers in the game, so you know he’ll be looking for that work when he steps into that squared circle with Khan. If Khan were to pull off an upset win here, this would lead to further lucrative bouts amongst the top-heavy hitters in the Welterweight Division.
As for Crawford, a win here won’t do much to enhance his status but add another marquee name to his unblemished record. Real Talk! Crawford is seen by many as the favourite while Khan is seen as the underdog.
However, Crawford does need a dominant performance to entice the other Champions in the Welterweight Division. For some odd reason the other Welterweight Champions refuse to acknowledge the fact that Terence is a major player in the 147-pound Division.
Khan strongly believes that he’s still top 10 in the Welterweight Division. With an opportunity to win a world title he could easily climb back up top of the 147-pound Division and silence the naysayers who doubt he’s still got it.
Nevertheless, Crawford is up for the challenge and about that business inside that squared circle. I just hope that Khan comes with it and doesn’t disappoint because this could possibly be his last chance at a World Title.
Now let’s see it!
IBF Super Middleweight Challenge
Tonight, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Caleb Plant (18-0, 10 Kos) joined the winner”s circle by defeating IBF Super Middleweight Champion Jose Uzcategui (28-3, 23 Kos) by unanimous decision.
Caleb came out the gate aggressive and established his power very early in the second round by dropping Jose for an 8 count. Caleb’s jab and constant movement made it difficult for Jose to adjust to Caleb’s boxing style.
As the rounds wore on, Caleb managed once again to sit Jose down for another 8 count in the fourth round. By that point Caleb was clearly ahead on points, which prompted Jose to start stalking Caleb around the ring, but to no avail.
I’m not sure what game plan Jose’s corner had in mind, but outside looking in, Caleb was visibly outboxing Jose as the rounds piled up.
It was clear that the pace of the fight was getting to Caleb but the lead he amassed within the early rounds pretty much secured the win for him. Jose had some moments inside that squared circle and looked the fresher of the two but still had no real answers to Caleb’s offence.
Overall it was a good fight, but I personally expected more from the Champion Jose. He came to life late in the second half of the bout but failed to retain his Title with his lackluster performance.
With this convincing win Caleb Plant becomes the latest Champion to don the IBF Super Middleweight Championship Title.
Congratulations Champ for a win well-deserved.
Super Middleweight Challenge
Rumors have been swirling around for quite some time and now it has officially been confirmed. The domestic British dust up between James DeGale (25-2-1, 15 Kos) and Chris Eubank Jr. (27-2, 21 Kos) is set to take place on February 23, 2019 at London’s O2 Arena.
The trash talking between the two combatants has been going on for years and it’s only fitting to end all talks inside that squared circle. There’s a lot on the table here. A loss for either combatant will have a serious gut check when it’s all said and done.
This bout is more about “Pride Fighting” then “Prize Fighting”. A lot has been said about where both warriors are at in their respective careers to date. Some in the boxing community see DeGale as a shot fighter on the decline while others in the boxing community see Eubank Jr. as an underachiever who chokes when tested by legitimate competitors.
I personally, see this bout as an opportunity for either combatant to show the naysayers that they still got what it takes to get bigger and better fights in the Super Middleweight Division. It’s “Show and Prove” time. Enough with the talking it’s time to step up and back it up.
Eubank Jr. is the younger of the two with less mileage. He’s at a peak point of his career and has serious skills inside that squared circle when focused. with a full-time trainer now by his side, it’s time for Eubank Jr. to perform and steal the show.
DeGale keeps talking about this bout being a “retirement fight” for the loser but truth be told he needs to step up his own game up to avoid that specific outcome on February 23, 2019. He could be the odd man out if he doesn’t come correct and focused come fight night.
There is absolutely no shortage of confidence when it comes to these two opponents, but truth be told the pressure is on 100 for them two to deliver and look convincing doing it.
The winner at the O2 Arena on Saturday night February 23, 2019 will get a positive boost within the Super Middleweight Division and possibly a Championship bout looming on the horizon?
WBC Interim-Middleweight challenge
Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21Kos) retained his WBC Interim-Middleweight Title against a very worthy opponent Matt Korobov (28-2, 14 Kos) as the Main Event at the Barclays Center Brooklyn, New York.
This bout was a very competitive one considering Matt Korobov was a late replacement. Jermall had himself a real Middleweight challenge inside that squared circle tonight but he definitely rose to the occasion and performed exceptionally well.
Korobov showed up and performed from start to finish and kept things quite competitive round after round. He showed no fear and fought a good fight that kept the back and forth action quite interesting. Korobov showed durability with a very good Boxing IQ inside that squared circle. His counter punching was on point and had some pop to it that kept Jermall on his toes all night.
In my eyes, this bout was a lot closer than the Judges had it but Jermall’s power and heavy-fisted combination was certainly the equalizer that separated the two in the championship rounds. Jermall asserted his will when it counted and secured the win.
Congratulations Champ, now on to the next.
WBC Super Welterweight Challenge
In a controversial outcome at the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, WBC Super Welterweight Champion Jermell Charlo (31-1, 15 Kos) suffered his first professional loss of his career to a unanimous decision to challenger Tony Harrison (28-2, 21 Kos).
All three Judges, scored it 116-112 115-113, 115-113 for Tony. Now no disrespect to any of the Judges working that bout tonight but real talk, what fight were they all watching? Don’t get it twisted, Tony fought a good technical fight that went back and forth at times but to say he was dominating Jermell throughout the rounds is an understatement.
It was definitely a good chess match between the two that certainly made it harder for Jermell then expected. That being said Jermell was the more aggressive fighter of the two constantly looking for that one punch knockout.
Controversy aside Tony stood his ground and fought a good one that certainly made it interesting inside that squared circle but to say it was a unanimous decision for Tony is very debatable. A rematch is unquestionably needed to clear the air on this one.
Until then, congratulations Tony on becoming the New WBC Super Welterweight Champion.
Your thoughts on this one?